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Home Remedies for Hand Cramps: Soap Stories to the Rescue!

Hand cramps can be incredibly uncomfortable. A professional fisherman wrote in and alerted us to a great home remedy to fight painful hand cramps.

When most people think of muscle cramps what comes to mind are leg cramps. That’s because a “Charlie horse” can be super painful. The muscles in your legs are long and strong and when those muscles contract, especially in the middle of the night, the pain can be excruciating. But you have muscles all over your body. There’s another kind of muscle cramp that can also be incapacitating and most people do not think about it until it happens to them. Hand cramps can be incredibly painful. Here are just a few descriptors from visitors to our website:

Teresa Reports:

“My fingers get distorted and close up to the point of me having to pry them loose. The muscle between my thumb and my forefinger hurts all the way up to my elbow.” 

Andy has encountered a similar situation:

“I have the same problem. My fingers distort and I have to pry them open and it hurts up to the elbow.  Any ideas please?”

Anonymous is desperate:

“I don’t know what to do. Most all the time I have cramps in my right hand and fingers, day and night. Please help me.”

A “Cure” for Hand Cramps?

The first person to suggest soap for hand cramps was a professional fisherman. He would put in long hours on the water reeling in big fish after big fish. The constant strain on his hands often left him in agony at the end of the day.

When the hand cramps became unbearable he remembered a remedy he heard about on The People’s Pharmacy syndicated public radio show for leg cramps. In that situation people reported that if they put a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near the feet it often prevented the cramps during the night.

The fisherman figured, if it can work for leg cramps, why not hand cramps. The rest is history! Read some stories below. The first is from the wife of another fisherman:

“I read your article about using soap in the bed for leg cramps. It really works. My husband had leg cramps for years since he is a fisherman and on his feet 18 hours a day. They brought tears to his eyes, although he is very stoic. He’s had no more leg cramps since we started putting soap under the bottom sheet.

“We were playing cards the other night and he got cramps in his hands, holding the cards, as he sometimes does. I got a bar of soap and put it in his hand. Within a minute the pain subsided. He held the bar for about 10 minutes and the cramp never came back. Now we keep a bar of soap near where we play cards.”

R.W. was amazed how fast soap worked against hand cramps!

“My left hand was cramping badly, my fingers twisting and enduring a scarcely bearable pain. I googled ‘hand cramps’ and found your page and just now tried the bar of soap ‘cure.’ 
Amazing! It worked within 2 minutes and the cramp hasn’t yet returned (quarter of an hour ago)
. What an indispensable tip.
 Thanks to all contributors at PeoplesPharmacy.com.”

Dorothy has a lot of experience with leg cramps:

“I have used a bar of soap in bed for leg cramps for years. I am an 87 year old and do a lot of knitting and crocheting and BAM! I get terrible hand cramps that bring me to tears. I decided to go and grab a bar of soap and hold it for a few minutes and it worked. Funny I didn’t think to look this up before but glad I did now and heartfelt recommend that others try it too.”

I. B. was doubtful until he used soap for his mama.

“Everyone is right about the soap. It really does work. I was really skeptical about that, until my mom was cramping in both her hands. She does dialysis three days a week and sometimes she cramps afterwards, so I was looking for something to help her with those hand and leg cramps and I couldn’t believe it when she said that the cramps stopped. Thank you for the home remedy.”

Just trying to imagine what J.M.D. went through makes us cringe:

“My hands cramp like a birds foot drawn by a string. The hands from a scoop shape sand the pain although bearable lasts a long time. I tried the soap, it seems to have done the trick.”

Lala uses soap for muscle cramps anywhere in her body:

“I always use any kind of bar soap for any cramps, hands, elbow, arms, legs and so does my daughter. It always works usually within a minute. I also eat bananas and calcium citrate.

But the soap always works. Soap is better.”

Flying with Leg Cramps is No Fun!

Share your own soap story below, whether you hold soap in your hand for hand cramps, put soap in your bed for leg cramps or try soap chips in your socks for restless leg syndrome (RLS) we would like to learn about your experience. Speaking of soap chips, shaving soap is not always easy or fun. That’s why we “invented” People’s Pharmacy Leg Soap. Here’s just one story from J.G.F.

“A friend told me about the soap chip trick when I mentioned the debilitating thigh and calf cramps I had on my last plane ride and was afraid to fly again.

“I used Irish Spring soap under my sheets and my foot (broken foot bones with post arthritis), ankle, calf and hip bursitis pain is all gone. I am astonished!

“I ordered the The People’s Pharmacy Leg Soap from The People’s Pharmacy Store and put the small ones in my socks for a long plane flight. I experienced no cramping or discomfort.  Previously I used leg cramp pills and general pain medicine still with severe leg cramps on and after the plane trip.

“P.S. My internist is skeptical and although she says she has many patients with this problem, I doubt she will advise them of this ‘grandma’s remedy’…Too bad.” 

Should you wish to try Leg Soap or Bed Soap, here is a link to our Body Care products, including Bed Soap, Leg Soap, Pomegranate Natural Lip Care, not to mention Aluminum-Free MoM (milk of magnesia) Roll-On Deodorant.

Please do let us know how any of these products work, especially soap for hand cramps, leg cramps or whatever hurts! There are lots of comments below that you may find of interest.

If you love all sorts of home remedies you may also enjoy our book from National Geographic: 

The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies: Qs & As for your Common Ailments 

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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